A rambunctious harmony that starts and ends with a powerful riff welcomes us as we fall upon “The Soul or the Skin,” the latest single from pop singer/songwriter Rob Alexander, and over the next few minutes it will grow so formidable that oceanic waves are dwarfed by its sheer enormity and, more importantly, its potency. Alexander’s vocal seeps through the chaos in the background with a swaggering tenderness, and while it’s steeped in a natural reverence that is intensely recognizable as being his and his alone, there’s a familiarity to the cadence of his verses that seems heaven-sent in what has been a rather underwhelming summer for pop music.
“The Soul or the Skin” is a song that doesn’t try to be anything other than a simple, beat-driven pop/rock jam with a spiked shimmer certain to heat up every dancefloor it adorns this August, and though its creator has issued some seriously incredible work in the last few years, this track stands out as perhaps his most mature and robust to see widespread release thus far in his career.
The self-assuredness that Alexander brings with him into the booth in this single is contagious, and although you could argue that he’s not the only player pulling his weight here thanks to his talented band, his constantly confident demeanor is undisputedly what makes “The Soul or the Skin” the anthemic hit that it is.
The fabric of these instrumental melodies come alive under his command; the bassline shapes itself to suit the needs of his poetic slash, the percussion mirrors the pitter-patter of an anxious and lustful heart, and even the minute idiosyncratic elements in the ensuing harmonies seem tangible and relatable because of the lyrics that complement their every strand. Alexander has come so far in a relatively short amount of time, and though I was expecting a lot out of this most recent studio recording, I was not anticipating the rhythmic twists and turns that we encounter in “The Soul or the Skin” to be as unforgettable and addictive as they are, even after repeat listening sessions. He’s come into his own, and he’s acting like it in this single.
If “The Soul or the Skin” is indeed but a small sampling of what’s to come next for Rob Alexander, there is no reason to think that he won’t be going mainstream with his creative profile a lot sooner than later. He’s not selling out his indie cred in this track, but he’s moving his aesthetical trajectory towards a palatable strain of pop music that many major label acts have failed to do justice in the last ten years. The end of summer is staring us down, and there’s a solid case to be made that among all of the independent musicians currently making headlines in FLA, Alexander is unquestionably in the top tier of the pop talent pool. With more material like this under his belt, it’s going to become difficult for his rivals to keep up, let alone eclipse the momentum that he’s sporting as a professional going into the next year.